small biz 102521FRANKFORT –Dozens of local businesses were recently awarded more than $1.5 million in funding from the Back to Business Program to aid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the support of State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort).

“COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on small businesses, especially in service and tourism industries,” Hastings said. “These grants will provide essential assistance to ensure local businesses can recover financially, as well as ensure they are able to serve their community as safely as possible.”

The B2B program grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget. So far, DCEO has provided $111 million in B2B grants to nearly 3,000 small businesses throughout the state with an emphasis on disproportionately impacted areas. Hastings voted to allocate funding for this program in last year’s state budget debate, and is eager to see its impact on his community.

Nearly 40 businesses in the district Hastings represents received grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 to help them cover the costs of ensuring they can operate safely in these unprecedented times. Grant recipients included barber shops, restaurants, limo rentals, and more.

“The B2B program is focused on the hardest-hit business sectors, which ensures economic recovery for all businesses in our community,” Hastings said. “I am hopeful that these grants will provide some relief for our local businesses as we all navigate life in these unprecedented times.”

Grants will continue to be awarded on a rolling basis. Visit the DCEO website for more information on the B2B program and view a full list of grantees here.